When English is not a common language!

books on languages

This was topic that I put up for round table discussion at the recent Global Education Day, which was part of the ISTE 2016 conference. The full agenda for the Global Education Day can be found here.

As technology enables teachers/students/classes/community members to become increasingly globally connected, it cannot be expected that all connecting parties will speak English or a share a common language. This leads to different demands in communication and collaborative skills.

This session will encourage participants to discuss, share, interact and take a look at some of the apps, tools and physical ways of ensuring that communication and collaboration can still take place. Looking at challenges and enablers.

Although most participants were interested in working with their own mixed culture/language classroom, the same principles apply with virtually connected students.

Questions to be considered:

  • Why is it important to work around students who are connected but do not speak a common lanugage?
  • Other means of communicating?
  • Where do we find people who do not speak English?
  • Resources available
  • What tools can we use – synchronous and asynchronous to overcome the language barriers?
  • What would/could you put into your grab bag of objects to share local culture?
  • Further tips and hints on being prepared.

Participants at the Global Education Day round table included representatives from 

  • Edutopia
  • The Wonderment – creativity is the common thread
  • 1to1 Learning

A number of individual educators

Students with neurology problems – communication is important for these.

 

Suggested Apps used for teaching and learning for students who are bilingual within your classroom

Lingro – brand new students who have no English – converts into their own language. How to mediate meaning

Need to be very explicit in connecting visual materials with language.  Tech helps bringing to life eg little farmers, toca nature, age dependent – kinder: framework for basics of how things work in world, little builders etc Break it all down visually in explicit steps.  PBS kids, visuals show timelines, visuals extentuate.

Skype – direct audio translation Tried European languages, Latin America

Figures of speech can cause problems

 

Autistic kids – stories to tell, bring in the photos, audio. Social stories. Where do I live? Made it personal – pics of sons room, house etc to make personal connections. Could make it cross cultural.

Edmodo, facebook, twitter, google have translation options.

Make videos that are very visual so that anyone of any language can understand that. Takes away from the spoken language. Kids around world, kids create what they like. Biggest problems is to make connections. Language is a form of communication but not the only one. Kids creativity is universal. They all have ideas. Art based, pictures based, what do you hear?

Common Challenges and Strategies – how to group students

What is the common challenge for teaching students of mixed languages:

Often the baggage that comes to classroom, how to create a culture that helps them handle their “baggage” (ie the problems they bring with them from previous experiences).. Students come from war torn countries, some dont have electricity, some are here illegally. What stops them completing their homework etc and how can we overcome that.

Brian’s connections are with refugees, how to preserve culture, figures of speech, how to understand different types of humour, sarcasm – didn’t translate on any and every level. Cultural barriers. Global Education projects – use a variety of technologies that can be tailored to student needs.

System challenge is assessment – regardless of advancement of students, they never get to the top.

Assisted technology is a huge barrier – the classroom cannot be carried over into the community – digital inequity. Disagreement – Columbia has private school – all resources, cf with another school that only has books both achieve well on the standardized tests.Gifted kids from other cultures/languages- how do you meet them. Can’t even assess what they really know.

Multi lingual team in some districts – if one school has more than 20 non-English speaking students, then get language experts to come in for 1 hour per week. Google translate is used – gets ideas across, although translation is not yet fully functional. Get students onto one platform so they can communicate – translation problems, get teachers to be able to access the site.

China cannot access the sites. Google translate does not translate all the alphabets. Trying to meet stakeholders wherever they are. Parent/teacher interviews: greet parents in their language first, then communicate using lots of pictures etc.

 

Difference  between real time mediating and non real time.

When starting with students at personal level, educators can give support at different levels. Classroom of 60 students, the more you give to enable students to make decisions, the less you have to provide support. Eg crying may indicate being hungry, pain, outside comfort zone etc when kids need you.  Get others to collaborate with those who are good at certain subjects.  Collaboration is key to synchronous learning.

Learning one to one foundation Erika Twani CEO Community and parents want the kids to attain a certain grade but kids new to country it is ok if you try it again. Unlimited ‘redos’. Collaborate collaborate collaborate

The first story that kids will read in class is Romeo and Juliet – come up with ways of teaching it that does not talk about Shakespeare.

 

Second session –

Apps – google translate – audio conversion. Google translate app on the ipad or android devices- even translates signs overseas – images, audio and text

 

An idea for collaboration beyond languages

Bi-lingual setting – English and Spanish will look at pattern of shadows – different shadows in different latitudes.

Gnomon Project –thegnomonproject.com

Look at what the shadow does every day for a long time, it will alter. How will it look if other side of equator, north of equator.

Dept of Defence Schools cos they speak English

 

Collect height of the shadow, length direction, Record as a percentage – 50% is a common language-

Winter vs summer, different hemispheres etc

 

 

Students never cease to amaze!

polynesia dance

It was the last week of term 2. Mid year exams, assessments and reports had all been completed. Liking the thought of the google rule of 20% time to play, I usually let the students in computer studies have ‘free time’.

This means that the boys in my  year 9/10 class chose to play games, including minecraft. The girls tended to search through pinterest. One girl chose to read a book!!! But then noticing a lot of movement at the back of the room, was one of the girls learning to dance Polynesian style via youtube. She was not distracted by any of the others, nor did the boys or girls take their eyes of their screens except to quickly check out the action. She was up on her feet and had completed the moves in perfect timing by the end of the lesson.

Teaching, learning and “Presenting on the fly!”

Shannon from Taiwan

My presentation at #EdutechAU ran for 1 hour and 15 mins and was to be a combination of a presentation, interactive learning and some hands-on. I allowed 30-45mins for the interactivity. Some participants used the backchannel to ask questions, which I duly answered. When I asked for suggestions as to what people would like to learn or see demonstrated, I was surprise to hear one attendee ask me to demonstrate skype.

Rather taken aback as I assumed that nearly everyone knew what it was like, I had to think on the fly! I showed them my HLW Skypers group where people are usually about 24/7 but as it was 1:30pm most of the US, Europe and Africa would be asleep, leaving possibilities of Asian colleagues who were probably teaching. I put in a quick plea for help

my plea for help

In my haste I wasn’t very clear with the message, told the audience they may have to wait a while and we went on to play kahoot. Within 10 minutes, Shannon Huang from Taiwan responded. A real connection was made, the bandwidth was perfect and many of the advanced features of skype demonstrated. Shannon talked about her students’ work which we could see just behind her. Then I asked a favour to see whether we could trial the skype language translator. We had to hang up, I set the translator on, rang back and much to our amusement watched it try and interpret our conversation.

What an amazing and perfect demonstration, on the fly, in real time to show how well we can engage with Asia. Thanks a heap, Shannon!

 

 

The World is My Classroom

Over 2 days I am fortunate to be able to both attend and present at the Edutech conference in Brisbane.

IMG_8150

The World is My Classroom is the name of my presentation.  It will be part presentation, part hands on but as interactive as possible.

My presentation –

Here are the links set up for the interactivity:-

  1. The Backchannel
  2. The Online Document of Resources
  3. The presentation (to be uploaded)

Hands On activities –

  1. Padlet “What did you have for breakfast?” Add a picture, text or video or ????
  2. Online collaboration document – Let’s Play
  3. Titan Pad – Favourites –  Etherpad 1    Etherpad 2     Etherpad 3    Etherpad 4    Etherpad 5    Etherpad 6    Etherpad 7    Etherpad 8    Etherpad 9     Etherpad 10
  4. Kahoot – link for students

Open Night at Hawkesdale College

in the library
Each year, our school holds an Open Night inviting interested  families of year 7 students in 2017, to come and visit, see and hear what is offered and be immersed in a number of activities including science, wood technology, sport, technology and cookery.

science room

I was asked to provide a virtual connection with teachers and/or students from other countries so that parents and students could experience the wonderful learning that can occur. Two special colleagues, Sebastian Panakal, from Kerala India and Lin-lin Tan from Taiwan kindly agreed to connect with the groups at the appointed time. As the families were held up, the five students who were helping me, had a special time with Sebastian and Lin-lin asking questions and interacting in conversations. Vesna is studying mandarin Chinese and practiced her Chinese with Lin-lin. The other students also conversed in simple phrases. Skype was the tool used to connect.

vesna and linlin

boys and sebastian

It started with mystery skype. The students had helped set up online maps in the computer room and families were grouped around them, trying to determine the country they were from. Sebastian went on to show his wife, Sheena’s beautiful origami which she had learnt to do from youtube. Families found it more difficult to determine where Lin-lin was from, despite her showing puppets, chopsticks and a video as clues. It was a great experience and many thanks go to the Sebastian and Lin-lin for giving up their time to show the learning that technology can bring.

puppet

puppet1

sebastian and swan

Reinventing Learning – Microsoft Conference

brisbane

Over the years that I have been teaching technology, I have always enjoyed using MS Office in my computer classes and although I have an iPhone and iPad, still use a windows based laptop and personal computer. Last year, I applied to become a Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator and was accepted into the program. As part of this profile, I was invited to attend the “Redefine Learning” conference in Brisbane, several weeks ago. Below is a summary of some of my experiences and learning at the conference.

redefine learning

Redefining Learning Conference

This conference organised by Microsoft was primarily for Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators and Microsoft Showcase Schools using the hashtag  #redefinelearn on twitter.

Some of the standout learnings and quotes were:-

  1. Change can start with a conversation. A group can make that change happen. The emphasis was creating a network of innovative and passionate educators.
  2. If you want to make change look for someone who is doing it, copy/mashup/remix what they are doing.

Highlights

  1. Developing a strong professional learning network with people who have similar passions and interests.
  2. Being exposed to some of the latest thinking in learning
  3. Having some exciting collaborative and interactive tools being released through MicroSoft including OneNote and Swayy
  4. Hands on learning experience in maker spaces with students – robotics, coding etc

A brief run down on some of the experiences and presentations

St Stephens School visit

The conference started with a school visit from a choice of two schools and this was one of the highlights of the conference for me. The principal of St Stephens showed us around. He emphasised that we are in a creative era – therefore learning spaces have become a personal passion his as they  enable collaborative, interactive and blended learning. The use of technology and its affordability and what can be done is only limited by our imagination.

Open spaces, moveable furniture and tables of many different styles, glass walls etc feature everywhere and allow blended, collaborative and interactive learning. Regular PD has been provided for staff and learning spaces have evolved and been adapted for blended learning. Staff have seen the pedagogy needs and used flexible spaces to do this.

They use a young innovative architect. Building towards successful organisation wide blended learning as they are finding traditional classrooms no longer work. The pen or stylus is now being embraced with the surface pros by increasing numbers of teachers. Windows devices are the preferred device due to pen etc and common platforms etc. They commenced with a goal of achieving blended learning, then built the courses and added in content. 3 years later, staff build the course without realising they were moving to a blended learning environment. Majority of teaching is online, but artwork is done in a traditional classroom. Tutorials online teach staff and students how to use OneNote etc. Analytics show that students are logging on in great numbers on the weekends to make use of the online learning environment. As blended learning involves technology enhanced learning, devices are fully supported by 3 technicians (a vital factor for success).

Conference Sessions

Mark Sparvell, Worldwide Showcase School Program Lead, Microsoft

Innovative schools are focussed on happiness, citizenship, adaptive capabilities, active and involved citizenship but problems around managing change.

Transformation occurs one conversation at a time. Takes a community to make the transformation.

Edupreneur: Unleashing teacher led innovation in schools David Faulkner, Education Change Makers  David encouraged us to share what “what is unacceptable……” for young ones today, but to then turn it into what we can do about it. He encouraged us to put together radical ideas – radical collaboration – copying from each other, collaborating together and creating a new direction in learning. There is a need to teach people how to innovate. Come up with 100 solutions to the problem. The first idea is often the worst. One idea in first 60 might be okay. Between 80 and 100 of those ideas come 5-7 real ideas for client. Some of the most ridiculous ideas build the best innovation and products.

Deanne Joosten, a teacher from Phoenix P12 School  “Beyond 4 Walls”.

Consider the screen as a portal, not a window and innovate learning beyond the classroom. Very few people are crazy enough to teach drama or many practical classes via videoconferencing. In one year she taught 3 remote classes together with her face to face class. This involved 614kms 7.5 hours of driving. Teaching and learning through a screen makes you think of working in other ways – broadens the mind. Teachers have to work hard to make them feel like they are being there with us and students need to think outside the box. Deanne used a live skype linkup with one of her drama classes to demonstrate how it can be done.

deanne and students

Friday morning started with a series of Teachmeet style 5 minute presentations. These included:-


Teachmeet

8 Mini presentations – 5 minutes each

Pip Cleaves Bringing it all together with Docs.com
Annette McArthur STEM Project based learning initiatives in our makerspace
Steve Crapnell Visible Thinking via SNIP and OneNote
Travis Goulter Positive Behaviour in the 21st Century with Red Critter
Anne Mirtschin The Magic of Mystery Skype
Sheree Bennett Enhancing understanding through feedback, collaboration and a tiny robot
Ineke McGuire Using OneNote to enhance differentiation and personalisation in the classroom
Nathan Moore Yammer for Social Learning
   

Participants were then give 2 x 15 mins to interact further with 2 of these presenters in round table style discussions.

Megan Towns – The MS Educator Community

This session was aimed at helping us to get connected and stay engaged with others around the world. Profiles allow the sharing of personality, achievements, passions, interests and what you are doing.

Megan introduced many of the social media tools that we can use for networking.

Introducing Microsoft Classroom: A new experience in Office 365 with Ari Schorr, Produc Mardeting Manager, Microsoft.

Using MS Classroom and some of its finer features for collaborative learning, ease of assessment and

feedback to students etc

Stem Hackathon

ebots.jpg

Students from Ormiston College, years 5 to 12, (and teachers) led us in a hands on STEM experience.

The session showed ways that students are integrating STEM into their learning at all year levels and across the curriculum at Ormiston College. We looked at some of their robotics, robots, coding the robots and using a number of software tools to code. An enjoyable and engaging session and one of the conference highlights.

student as mentors

The conference closed with a Microsoft Closing Keynote speaker and final words from Travis Smith encouraging us to redefine learning, continue to network and push teaching into new directions.

 

 

Skype in the Classroom

This was a topic for a 30 minute presentation that I made to Sheldon College, in Brisbane, Queensland, 1883 kms from me.

The presentation was made using skype and covered how to use skype, find contacts, advanced features and sample classroom uses including virtual guest speakers/experts, global connections, cultural experiences, virtual tours etc . Here is what was done:

  1. intitial contact made using emails
  2. test of skype connection earlier in the day between the school and me
  3. a quick run through of the proposed session with Vanessa the co-ordinator of the Professional Development Day to ensure it met their objectives and needs
  4. a back channel set up in todays meet for participants to introduce themselves (and for me to have some idea about the interests and needs of the audience)
  5. Chat messages to alert me to when they were ready for the presentation.
  6. Cabled my laptop in for best bandwidth
  7. Videoconference call made at the appointed time for the session
  8. Webcamera introduction
  9. Screen share from my end allowed me to share the powerpoint presentation with the remote location.

Below is the presentation made:-

https://docs.com/d/embed/D25193928-4011-7935-3820-000397619509%7eM9dcb2cf0-75c2-fd54-cc0d-4cb4b9b90919

This took approximately 30 mins. Sound, video and audio were all good. The presentation was uploaded into docs.com for sharing and the link emailed through.